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This indicator represents the proportion of a state's eighth grade public school students that has met or exceeded the proficiency standard in science. The National Assessment Governing Board sets performance standards that provide a context for interpreting National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) results. The standards define “basic,” as well as “proficient” and "advanced" accomplishment. For the eighth grade, the basic level (scores 141–169) denotes partial mastery of knowledge and skills that are prerequisite for proficient work. The proficient level (170–214) represents solid academic performance and demonstrates competency over challenging subject-matter knowledge. The advanced level (215–300) signifies superior performance.

The National Center for Education Statistics has determined that achievement levels are to be used on a trial basis and should be interpreted with caution. However, both the Commissioner of Education Statistics and the National Assessment Governing Board state these performance standards are useful for understanding trends in student achievement.

Not all students participate in NAEP assessments; a sample of schools and students is selected to represent each participating state. Hundreds of thousands of students from several thousand schools across the nation typically participate in the NAEP science assessment. The results from the assessed students are combined to provide accurate estimates of the overall performance of students in the nation and in individual states and other jurisdictions. NAEP allows students with disabilities or limited English-language proficiency to use certain accommodations (e.g., extra testing time or individual rather than group administration). All data presented here represent scores from tests taken with accommodations offered.

Data source: U.S. Department of Education, National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress.

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  • 2nd Quartile

  • 3rd Quartile

  • 4th Quartile

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NA = not available.

NOTES: The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) scores are for public schools only. The national value for the United States is the reported value in the NAEP reports and does not include territories.

SOURCE: National Center for Education Statistics, National Assessment of Educational Progress (various years), data as of January 2017.

Recommended Citation: National Science Board. “Eighth Grade Science Proficiency.” Science and Engineering Indicators: State Indicators. Alexandria, VA: National Science Foundation. Accessed on [date of user access].

Last updated: January 18, 2018